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Virgin Games Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Mark Caswell, Richard Eddy
Chris Bourne

Judge 'Old Stoney Face' Dredd is one of the longest running and best loved characters from 2000AD comic and now you gel to control Mega-City One's finest cop Dredd battles through six levels, each based on a Dredd story. Gameplay is essentially that of a shoot-em-up, and similar to RoboCop as you view the eight-way scrolling action from side on in the game Dredd does what he's best at, catching 'perils'.

Level one takes you to Dan Tanna block where the League Of Fatties are running riot and eating all that comes to hand. So, with trusty Lawgiver gun in hand and Lawmaster bike on call, your prime objective is to shut down four food dispensers and then guard the food convoy as it trundles into the city to feed the starving millions. Watch out for the fatties as they throw food at you and even jump off walkways in an attempt to flatten you. The status panel shows your energy (knocked down by attackers) and the rising crime level: the idea is to keep your energy high and the crime rate low.

Scene two takes you to Charles Darwin block where Professor Fribb has created an enzyme that reverses the process of evolution. Unfortunately, some of the deadly enzyme has escaped through the vents and the inhabitants of the block are now less than human. Here Dredd must again walk through platform alter platform apprehending lizards, amoebas and monkeys whilst closing the outlets from the ventilation system. Once this is done he heads for Fribb's lab to arrest the amoeba that the unfortunate Prof has become.

Levels three, four and five cover the events of one of my favourite Dredd stories - Blockmania. The Sov Block agent Orlok has started blockmania, induced gang warfare, in the City and Dredd must stop him and his comrades who are contaminating the Aqua Plant in level three. In level four, his Aqua Plant plan thwarted, Orlok tries to contaminate the Weather Station. Level five sees Dredd trying to control the outbreak of blockmania. And level six? My advice is give up now because the four Dark Judges Fear, Fire, Mortis and Death pay Mega-City a visit and it's up to you to get rid of them using dimension bombs. Good luck Dredd, you'll need it!

A far better game than the original Judge Dredd game by Melbourne House, Virgin have done a good job in adapting the 2000AD strips. My only slight moan is that the six levels look and play very much the same: you wander around the playing area bagging the baddies and shutting off four valves/vents/food dispensers etc. Graphically the game is good, especially the cartoon style drawings that appear when Dredd calls his bike and is hospitalised through loss of energy. The sound track on the 128K version is neat too.

Gameplay is tough: keeping the crime rate down and your personal energy level up takes a lot of practice. Add to that the novel logging-on to the Justice Department computer system before playing (a 9.0 million gigawatt computer, indeed!) makes Judge Dredd a playable package. It's a shame about the limited content though.

MARK ... 79%


'Don't be put off by the small size of the playing area shown on-screen, when the action begins you soon forget about that G-so much happens! Judge Dredd is very well presented, the introductory computer terminal section with its many functions gives that extra sparkle to a game that's little more than a shoot-'em-up. Gameplay is tough but enjoyable as you stomp around the walkways killing off the appropriate perps. However, you have to watch who you're shooting, as killing a normal civilian doesn't do you any good! Each level is big, and mapping is a worthwhile job as getting lost isn't difficult! For its many loads (yeah, it's a multi-load) the gameplay does not really differ from level to level, and it's the repetitive nature of the gameplay that prevents Judge Dredd from being a real hit.' RICHARD ... 76%

A fine blasting romp marred by repetitve gameplay.